Half-Life: On Turning 35 And Leaving RPS

By Kieron Gillen on September 30th, 2010 at 11:10 am.

Today I hit half my biblically allotted time on Earth. I’m also leaving RPS’ full-time staff. That’s my last regular commitment as a “real” games journalist. These fifteen years have been a pleasure.

For a little more of what it means for the pirate-ship that is RPS, read on.

In short: Don’t worry too much.

This hasn’t been a sudden thing. “Kieron Leaves On September 30th” has been on the RPS Calender for most of the year. As such, we’ve had plenty of time to bring Quinns in as the new regular writer. You’ll all have seen by now exactly how lightning-in-a-bottle he is and what he brings to the site. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

Equally, while I’m not on the regular staff I’ll remain a Director of RPS, so be involved in shaping the site’s future. More importantly, I remain a gamer whose main response the medium is going on big rants. When I decide I want to write ten thousand words on an indie strategy game no-one else gives a toss about, there’s not a power in the world that can stop me. Unfortunately. My dilettante ass will be showing up whenever I have something worthwhile to say. In other words, I’ll basically be filling the position Quinns was before he came on full time.

Take-away message number 1: Quinns is the new me. I’m the new Quinns.

Those who follow my career may be wondering whether this actually has anything to do with me signing an exclusive contract with Marvel. Well… yes and no. Yes, it affected the timing. Not because it has anything to do with whether I can write games journalism or not, but because with the contract signed I felt it important to give my full, undivided and primary attention to the comic-writing.

However, no, it didn’t affect whether I was leaving or not. I’d be leaving around now anyway. When Jim floated the idea for RPS back in 2007, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to offer my oar for the Viking longship. I knew it’ll be a long haul to get it to a position to actually make money. I also knew that I was kind of half out the door anyway. If I was going to do a load of work for no money, I’d be much better off doing indie comics for no cash. That would feed into where I wanted to be heading.

On the other hand: how could I say no?

It was a site which needed to exist. Number one on my list of unfulfilled games journalist desires was “I’d like to launch a mag”. It took me a while to actually realise that’s what RPS was, but a chance to build something on our own terms, embodying what the four of us believed about writing was pretty much irresistible. If I was going to leave games journalism, I’d like to leave something like RPS behind.

The point being: to leave it behind. I knew that as soon as the site was commercially valid, I’d probably be out the door.

We had Eurogamer take over our ads early this year. You’ll have noticed that we’ve started having a more commercial class of adverts. While we’re resolutely anti-pop-up and multiple-pages and all that, some of you may have been a little annoyed by it. You’ll also hopefully have noticed the greater amount of content, from multiple feature posts per day to just a general amount of news churn. Soon, you’ll see improvements to the site infrastructure – starting with the comments threads. And there’s other special things which we’ve got lined up for the near future. The ads money has made all that possible.

The ads money and the readership, because ads without anyone to read them are worthless. Pulling up the stats for the last 30 days, and we had 770,959 unique visitors and 4,871,919 page impressions. These are not small figures. We’re the largest generalist PC games site in the anglophone sphere.

Readership + Ads = Money = A sustainable site.

Thank you for reading. Assuming you aren’t running adblock, just by doing so you’re helping to pay for us to make the site better. And, as always, a special shout out to the people who are paying us directly – the RPS subscribers.

Take-away message number 2: I’m not leaving RPS because it’s failed. I’m leaving RPS because it’s successful, and so no longer needs me.

But I am, in a real way, leaving RPS.

I won’t be sitting in the chat-room, posting sexy renders of the latest guns and making terrible puns based around bad pop music – and if you want the one real change from me leaving, it’d be a downturn in references to mid-nineties zine-kid glitterpop.

Of course, I’m sentimental – sentimental enough to fire off a last round from the games-journalism-journalism gun elsewhere. I’ve been a professional games journo for the last fifteen years. I’ve been doing this for longer than some of you have been alive. However, I’m aware of how lucky I’ve been. When I left PC Gamer back in 2003 to go freelance, I assumed that I’d basically done the big body of work which I felt which would have been my highpoint. Those five, drunken years on the mag would be basically as good as my games journalist experience would get. And despite some of the stuff I got up to after I left – don’t mention the war – all of that rested on those five years. And part of me was a little sad that it was as good as it got. I never really got to have my own Amiga Power.

Which is why I’m lucky. Against all expectations, when I thought I’d seen and done everything I could do in the field, the last three years have confounded those lessons. It could be better. It could be anything. RPS broke my heart and patched it back together on a daily basis. I consider it the absolute highpoint of my career. I’m very lucky.

Time to die.

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611 Comments »

  1. Pantsman says:

    Aw. You were always my favorite hivemind node.

    Good luck on your future journeys!

  2. Nitewatchman says:

    ;_; Farewell, kind sir…I shall miss thy snark.

  3. Bruno says:

    good luck wherever you go Kieron . I enjoyed the sunday posts.

  4. Serenegoose says:

    Happy Birthday Kieron! Hope you have great success with all the stuff you plan to do.

  5. Count Elmdor says:

    Here’s hoping you still turn up in the comments and podcasts and such from time to time.

  6. Frank says:

    Good luck! Time to follow your work-blog.

    I guess this means Quinns can have a profile on RPS’s “About” page.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Morph says:

    Bye Kieron, best of luck. It would be easier to swallow if your reason for leaving was to write Phonogram 3 though.

  8. Gaytard Fondue says:

    Will Fred Wester be a sad CEO of Paradox now?

  9. Gweebo says:

    My favoritest gamercommenters of all, and not as titties-shy as the others.

    Yay for Kieron, nayyy for leaving.

    Be safe. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  10. Will Tomas says:

    There goes a games writer. He was the finest of us. And we shall never see his like again.

  11. Jimbo says:

    Succeeded.

    Good luck, KG.

  12. Ysellian says:

    Like the others mentioned you’ll be missed, but you can’t feel down when someone else is going up in life.

    So Good luck, KG!

  13. Tom OBedlam says:

    Its been ace, cheers man

  14. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Today is a good day to die.

    Good luck Kieron! Don’t be a stranger to RPS or we will come FIND YOU.

  15. pupsikaso says:

    And Happy Birthday, KG!

  16. Redd says:

    happy BIRTHday

  17. JoeX111 says:

    I’ll miss you, Kieron.

    I hope someone plans to pick up the Sunday Papers. That’s always been a highlight for me.

  18. Premium User Badge

    sendmark says:

    At least tell me Sunday Papers will live on??

  19. Amalorn says:

    Happy birthday and good luck! You will be missed, especially the bad pun-age and pop references.

    Ps. let’s have another Phonogram once you get minted.

  20. Anononininmity says:

    I’ll always remember the review of Medieval: Total War you wrote for PCG. I was hooked from the first line:

    “I am the King of Spain!”

    That review prompted me to buy the game and got me hooked on the series. And I am now lucky enough to work on the Total War games now.

    Thank you in your way for helping put me on a very fulfilling path.

    • Kast says:

      I just broke into laughter remembering that review. I don’t think I ever noticed who wrote it, but looking back I would have to say it was one of my favourites. It totally sold what it felt like to play the game, and really that’s all we can hope for in a review.

  21. Little Tohya says:

    Thank you for Phonogram. It was wonderful

    RPS will still be great even without you, but it just won’t quite be the same. Good luck!

  22. Demiath says:

    I must be moderately blind, but I had never noticed the subscription option before. I subsribed as soon as I read about in this post – 2 USD seems like an unreasonably good deal for the large amount of good writing being produced by the dedicated RPS staff. I may not be able to afford a decent enough computer to actually play most of the (non-Minecraftian) games mentioned here, but at least now I can read about them while knowing that I’ve contributed ever so slighty to the production of high-quality verbiage.

    And, oh, it’s good to know that Mr KG hasn’t left nerddom just because games journalism isn’t his day job at all anymore. Going from video games to full-time comic writing seems a step down on the Ladder of Respectability, which will surely be regarded as a Good Thing from the perspective of most RPS readers…

  23. Warduke says:

    This sucks but I wish you the best. RPS has become a daily fix of mine and you were a big part of that. I hope the site can remain as strong without your daily presence. Good luck.

  24. Ed says:

    Whoah… Thanks for all the awesome words KG, especially these:
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/10/june/wolkieron.jpg

    Games, never mind their journalism, wouldn’t have been the same.

    And congrats to Quinns on the absorption. Long live RPS! :D

  25. Jossu says:

    Thanks for everything! good game journalism is a hard thing to find

  26. Arathain says:

    Mr Gillen, I’ve been reading your gaming journalism since your early PCG work. You, personally, have changed the way I think about gaming, and I’m damn sure you’ve changed the face of your former profession, hugely for the better (is the reason we don’t talk about the War because you obviously won, and you’re OK with most folk not noticing?).

    Oh, and thanks for turning me on to an enormous pile of really excellent games. Because that’s as important as everything else.

    All the very best in your work with Marvel. They’re lucky to have you.

  27. W Main says:

    Good luck and happy birthday to you Kieron! I hope everyone goes well in the future and i’m sad to see you go. I remember reading your articles all the way back in PCG years ago. Though I can’t say I always agreed with you, I found your articles interesting and informative.

    Hope everything goes well in the future! Best of luck to you!

  28. TimA says:

    You shall be missed. All the best indeed!

  29. Premium User Badge

    tikey says:

    May life smile upon you.
    I stayed on RPS because of your articles and found and amazing site. Thank you.
    I’m glad Quinns is your replacement, he’s an amazing writer. I just hope he’ll write some drunken articles like yours.

  30. Froibo says:

    Thank you for giving me what is hands down the best PC gaming blog.

  31. subversus says:

    Goodbye!

    Your pieces were fantastic!

  32. Trelin says:

    Long time lurker saying thanks for years of great stuff (even if that includes causing various fluids to be laughed out my nostrils; having a hard time forgiving you for the scotch incident).

    Best of luck wherever you’re going!

  33. Samuel Bass says:

    Safe travels, Mr. Gillen!

    How am I going to procrastinate Sunday mornings without The Sunday Papers? How? I despair!

  34. Armyofnone says:

    Kieron, you will be missed greatly.

  35. Freud says:

    Good luck.

  36. Alabaster Crippens says:

    I first bumped into Kieron by arguing him about whether his reading of SHODAN’s character in System Shock was misogynist. He argued with me intelligently, and I left thinking he was wrong.

    But I also read more of his stuff. And realised he was good.

    And everytime I see him picking up a feminist torch on site, it makes me happy. And I try and convince myself I made him care a little bit more.

    That a mainstream PC site regularly engages with misogyny in games is awesome. Many other things about this site are awesome. I’ll miss you, you bastard.

    And I’ll miss the zine-kid mid 90s glitter pop references too.

    Big love.

  37. JP says:

    If I said anything more than this, it would become flowery, overwrought and unworthy of your contributions:

    Thanks for everything, good sir.

  38. Premium User Badge

    Kradziej says:

    You, sir, have been writing about games for 15 years.
    I’m sixteen.
    Oh my.

  39. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    It is a sad day.

    Well, I love your comic, so not all is lost. Except please make something more exciting than X-Men or Thor. More Phonogram would be ace, or something similarly indie.

    I’ve only known of you since coming to RPS two years or so ago, but I have become a fan of all of you guys. I want to thank you for broadening my musical taste and for making me more proud to love the music that I love. I wasn’t much of a music fan when I got here, but having someone post a link to a song that the rest of the world thinks is stupid, but you find utterly delightful every week, certainly made me one. In a club, I can now dance with delight to Single Ladies, and it turns out that some ladies like that, and I guess I kind of have to thank you for that.
    You also made me a comic fan, but only really of your comics. And Scott Pilgrim obviously. But yeah, hadn’t read many comics I like before coming here.

    Oh I don’t know what to say. Just thank you, and best of luck to you, and happy birthday and all that.

  40. Earl_of_Josh says:

    The only thing that sucks worse than Kieron not linking some new pop song he’s been listening too on his very last-of-all-time (as an official RPS person) post, is the horrible fact that he’s leaving. This truly sucks. Picking your favorite games journalist on RPS is like picking your favorite child, but without a doubt Kieron you brought something really special to the site, and it’ll feel like we are missing a limb without you for a while. And had another very iron-free limb sown on. Or something. (No offense Quinns, we love you!) Anyway, absolute BEST of luck to you in the future Kieron, it’s been a blast!

  41. Durns says:

    Thank you Kieron.

  42. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Well, that was unexpected. Happy Birthday and congrats on the Marvel deal. I will miss your Sunday Papers and your attempts to get people to challenge their assumptions. I love this site and you have done good here.

    Only expect to make it to 70, eh? Both my parents are over 70 now. Though I admit that a not insignificant number of my friends and co-workers are dropping and I’m only mid-40s.

  43. Deston says:

    Sincerely – thanks Kieron. Your work here has always been an absolute pleasure to read. It would be a scary statistic if I tracked how much time I’ve spent reading The Sunday Papers alone, they were always perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon of random gaming clickery. :)

    It’s really sad to see you leave, but knowing you will still be lurking in the shadows around here from time to time takes the sting out of it a little at least.

    All the best in the future mate.

  44. MaxwellKraft says:

    “Time to die.”

    Have you seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion?

    Seriously though, happy birthday and good luck. Also, since Marvel is now owned by Disney you can brag about working for the same company as Warren Spector.

  45. chesh says:

    Thanks, Kieron.
    While I fell in love with RPS fairly immediately, you were the first of the Hivemind to really distinguish yourself to me, having never heard of any of you beforehand. It was probably because of your love of music coming through, as that’s the medium that games have to challenge for my love.
    I was thinking of a whole lot more sappy stuff after reading this on the train to work this morning, that I didn’t want to try to type out on my phone, and now I’ve forgotten it all. I’m pretty useless, it would seem!

  46. frymaster says:

    thanks for all you’ve written

    and good luck in your future endeavours

  47. WantOn says:

    Argh, it feels as though Murdoch has left the A-Team! Or Lister Red Dwarf! Or Robbie Take That (ok, ok, that last one was a joke).

    Don’t know if you are still reading by Pg 8 KG, but I’ve spent the entirety of my adult gaming life reading and subsequently being influenced by your words and thoughts, along with the rest of the RPS crew. Its therefore with self-indulgent sadness and slightly more altruistic happiness that I read about your departure today.

    Good luck with everything you are going on to do; I hope it brings you real happiness. Please drop by every now and then to let us know how you are getting on, and possibly even let us know what you think about the state of gaming/new games journalism/generic FPS 17.

    Congratulations to Quinns on the promotion; its well deserved. And to the Jim, Alec and John, please, please keep up the good work! Still love you all, guys.

  48. Poindexter says:

    I just want to add my thanks onto the large pile of already existing thanks. Your work (and all of RPS’s) has gotten me through many a long day. Good luck with your future endeavors Kieron!

  49. Samuel Erikson says:

    So long, you magnificent bastard.

  50. Dave says:

    Having recently quit something that I loved doing for reasons that didn’t really make a whole hell of a lot of sense to anyone, other than I knew it was the right thing… uh… I don’t know where I was going with this.

    Thanks for being awesome anyway.